Saturday, March 29, 2008
It is long, but so very worth the time to read it!!! I pray that all who read this may be richly blessed and encouraged in their own marriages!
Bring Him Home
Jim and I met in 1966 - he was 25 I was 18. He was wild and so was I. When we met he had already been in and out of prison for about seven years, and was going back again for two years. We married in the prison six months later. Soon after I had our son. A few months later I miraculously came to Christ. Because of the prison term I didn’t live with my husband for another two and a half years. After being home a year he began a crime spree.
He deserted us over and over again. I had nowhere to turn except to God. No one knew where my mate was. Some of the time my heart would rage like a forest fire out of control on the dry and windy land. I would run and scream like a woman out of her mind searching for her mate in the raging fire. I’d scream curses at God only to faint from exhaustion and weep bitter tears of repentance. I’d get back up, begin running again and fall again and again until finally I’d surrender my will to Christ’s will. And then I’d wait, maybe for another six months, knowing God was in control.
In the beginning I thought about divorce. Well, wasn’t that what a woman does if her husband leaves her repeatedly? And yet Jim kept coming back and repenting. He would mysteriously end up at my back door after being missing for four or five months, looking like a mad man. But beneath the dirt and sun-parched face he was still mine.
I’d bring him in the house, give him dinner, and speak peace and rest to him. I’d run the bath water for him to wash and feel like a man again. Compassion would rise up in my heart - I had the Lord, and my Jim didn’t. I would reverence and praise him.
I would shut the door on the world and be alone with my mate. No matter what he had done to me, we were still one flesh. He was my first and only husband - a terrible, ungodly, unfaithful husband, but he was still my husband. His healing came again and again as I forgave him and opened my love to him. I held nothing back.
There would be times when putting dinner on the table, I’d notice he was awfully late. I’d listen for the car and begin running again and again to the window. The old familiar fear would rage, knowing that he had deserted me again. This scene happened about thirty times in the first twelve years of marriage. He would suddenly disappear without warning. The children would run in from play crying, “Where is daddy, where is my daddy?” I’d tell my little baby Jimmy, “Daddy is sick but Jesus is going to heal him.” I taught my little ones to pray, “Thank you, Jesus, for bringing my daddy home.”
His mother died and no one could find him. My prayers went out to God day and night and seemingly to no avail. The years went on and the crimes continued as if I had no God. I felt like a motherless and fatherless child. I was completely exhausted and my mate committed still another crime and went to prison for almost four years.
I loved him. I felt he was demon possessed and yet he was my husband. Yet at times I hated him. Your arms and legs belong to you even when they hurt, you can’t cut them off. I was like this about my husband. He was mine. I hated it when he deserted me, but I was married to him no matter what. Adultery to me was the worst of all sins. At night before I entered my marriage bed alone I’d cry out to God to keep me pure even in my dreams and that I would never dream of another man.
Many mornings I’d wake up and think, “Lord, why did you give me another day to live?” Often the world seemed so black to me but sweet Jesus would come to me and speak life and joy into my tired and depressed soul. One time God supernaturally took all my burdens away. I forgot he had left me. It was so hilarious. I even wrote myself a note to remember to pray for him.
The day-to-day message from the Lord was, “Now Connie, you just get up out of that bed. You straighten your shoulders and you believe God. This problem isn’t bigger than God. Don’t you prepare your day as though Jim won’t be home. You get up and prepare your home for a miracle.” Each evening when my husband was gone I’d fix supper for him and put his plate at the head of the table. No one was allowed to sit in his chair and no one was allowed to bad mouth him. I ran the house as if he were home.
I survived and lived on the Word of God. I whispered His name all day long. He walked with me in the valley of death and guided me to a straight path.
All our phone conversations at the prison were censored. I’d speak faith into the phone and say, “I’ll see you in a few days, honey.” The guards thought we were planning an escape because Jim had been given a 10-year sentence! People laughed at me and said that he would always leave me and be in and out of prison. The prison guards told me that Jim was institutionalized and was hopeless. Hopeless or not, he was my husband. I knew I could never forsake the Lord by not forgiving my own husband. Also, as a young wife I wanted to be a teacher of women when I got older and I knew I couldn’t be divorced. I’d sing, “Keep me Jesus as the apple of thine eye.”
The Lord would tell me to speak to the mountains in my life and not doubt in my heart. I would speak to the mountain, which was Jim. I would woo him and call him home with my prayers. Every muscle in my body cried out to God to save him. I fasted and prayed continuously.
Jim was healed in 1979. After he had been in prison for the last four years and home for about three months, he asked me to have another baby, our fourth. I was so fearful and yet was praying for Jim to be healed. I said No. I was not going to have another baby. I walked away from him and the Lord spoke to me. “Connie,” He said, “You have come this far by faith. Don’t give up now.” After much heartache I obeyed the Lord my God.
“Yes,” I told Jim, “I’ll have another baby for you.” I placed my future in his hands. When Jim saw that I still believed in his life as a human being something released within him. The fear left his eyes and He was delivered. He lifted his hands up to His Father and received the anointing of a sound and unfettered mind. He began to slowly give more and more of his life to Christ. He took over the bills and began to work steadily.
The Lord did exceedingly and abundantly more than I could ask or think. He gave me joy unspeakable. He showed me He was there all the time. Satan had come in like a flood but the Lord raised such a standard against him. All Satan did was build me a grand testimony.
God gave me a new batch of fruit. I had David in 1980, Dan in 1982 and Mary in 1985. We now have six children. I was queen in my palace. I raised the children for Christ and to honor their daddy. I taught them to jump when daddy walked into the room. I taught them to get Daddy a cup of coffee or honor him in some way.
The guys at work say to my husband, “You don’t go out and drink and party.” Jim says, “I have a wife to go home to. I spend my time with my family.”
One guy said, “Boy, when work is over you run home.” The guy thought something was wrong with him!
I sit here thinking of Jim and the man he is now. He has been home sitting at the head of our table for twenty years! Who is this Jesus we serve? Surely He is the Son of the living God - a God who saw me crying and feeling so forsaken, a God who knew the very moment Jim would be healed. Jim is my walking miracle to always remind me that nothing is impossible with God. He showed me that if we don’t give up we would see the glory of God.
Proverbs says, “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her.” A woman must gain the trust of a man such as this. His healing comes as he feels safe enough to give Christ his heart and his wife his heart. When Jim was healed he went from not seeing me to taking care of me. He turned from Satan and took dominion over his Eve. He came into his responsibilities as a man. I come under my husband and I don’t desire to do anything else. I don’t always agree with him and I tell him I don’t. But in the end his word is final. I want to be as Esther and not as Queen Vashti.
Dear wives and mothers, don’t give up give up on your husband. He sees your heartache. He won’t leave you or forsake you if you trust in Him. I know for I’ve been to the other side.
Reprinted from “Above Rubies” — a magazine to bring strength and encouragement to marriage, motherhood and family life. It is available by donation from:
PO BOX 681687
FRANKLIN TN 37068-1687
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
(wheat, honey, and oats-->WHO)
1 1/4 cup warm water
2 Tbs honey
2 Tbs butter
1 tsp salt
2 c white flour
1 c wheat flour
1/2 c rolled oats
1 Tbs brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 pkg (2 1/4 tsp) yeast
Place all in bread machine and let it do it's thing!! I also like to put a handful of raisins or dried cherries in with all the ingredients (if you do it that way, they get chopped up a bit by the machine, or else, wait until your machine beeps to let you know you can add raisins or things like that)
This is a great bread to put in the night before and set on a delayed timer, so that it's fresh and hot in the morning.
Linda's Brown Bread (This recipe is from my friend Linda in Maine...it is so yummy!)
1/2 c warm water
1/2 c. oats
Put these in the bread machine and let it sit for 5 minutes before adding remaining ingredients.
2 Tbs oil
1 c warm water
1/4 c molasses
2 1/4 c white flour
1 c wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs brown sugar
1 Tbs yeast
1/2 c raisins (optional)
You know the rest, let your bread machine do its job! :)
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
MAY THE ROAD RISE TO MEET YOU,
MAY THE WIND BE ALWAYS AT YOUR BACK
MAY THE SUN SHINE UPON YOUR FACE
THE RAINS FALL SOFT UPON YOUR FIELDS
AND, UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN,
MAY GOD HOLD YOU IN THE PALM OF HIS HAND
"Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!"
"Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!"
"I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."
This is probably one of my favorite parts of the triumphant entry of Jesus. Can you imagine?? It is such a HUGE thing that the stones themselves would have had to cry out an expression of His greatness if the people hadn't. I love that!!! All of creation worshipping the Creator!!!
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
Well, all day Friday I was so excited about going, and usually when it's actually time for an event, I have doubts about going, but not this! I can't remember if I told you, but we were given the name of another lady to be praying for all week, and we were also given a blank card to write down what we prayed for that person. I had NO idea who the lady was. I was about to turn around and ask another lady, but God suggested that rather than doing that, this could be a faith walk for me as well, to be praying for someone that I knew absolutely nothing about! So, that's what I did, I prayed knowing that God would have to guide it. Each day I'd think of something different to pray about and amazingly, each day as I prayed, it kept somehow coming back to this lady's witness, her testimony to those around her. On Thursday I found myself looking up scripture to back the prayers, and even decided to write out those scriptures with her name inserted in them to give her.
Well, Friday night I got there and really didn't know anyone really well. There was about 12-15 ladies there and I had to consciously make the decision to mingle (really, it IS hard for me to be outgoing, but God's been working on that in me for years now). Well, we went up to the sanctuary for opening prayer, worship and stuff. Things weren't going exactly according to "the outline" which I later learned was a lesson for the lead pastor's wife, who worked on the whole thing and admits to being a "control freak"....but God had awesome plans ready for us!! Anyway, a lady stood up to give her testimony, and WHAT a story it was!! She used to be a druggie and even became a dealer!! She's a Mom!! With lots of kids!! And she got into Meth and things just went south fast (that's when she became a dealer to support her own habit). Eventually her house was raided and her kids taken and stuff, and before going to jail, she realized that God was calling her back to him (she's a pastor's daughter!) The raid happened just a couple years ago (just before we moved here) and God has brought her so far since that time!! It is INCREDIBLE!!!! And........that was the lady that I had been praying for all week!!!!!!!!!! We didn't give the cards we had written until the next day, and she said when she read what I had been praying she just cried and cried and cried, because she is now an advocate for Moms who have been caught doing drugs. She's very involved in working with people who are involved in the stuff she had been doing! I'm telling you, that was SO AWESOME for me as well as her....what a giant step in faith that all was!
BUT that's not even all of it....skipping forward to Saturday, we were given about 1 1/2 hours of time to get into the Word and just seek God and what He wanted us to get out of this weekend. Earlier in the week I had realized that God wants me to work on being gracious. I had read some scripture about that, but not a whole lot yet. See, I do have a problem with gossip sometimes and the time has come to make a clean break from that very bad problem. Yeah, talk about a YIKES moment! So I knew that this was what God wanted to hash out with me in my own little time. I found a quiet corner and started reading on grace and graciousness, but everything talking about that was mostly talking about God....I held that up in puzzlement knowing it was a beautiful quality of God, but was it something that I needed to do?? And of course, was my answer, of course, because we are to put on the likeness of Christ. With further digging through my concordance and glossary, I discovered gracious and merciful are basically the same thing, and in looking up merciful in my concordance, there was a lot of "meat" to chew on!! I wrote several verses(**see below) down in my journal, and the more I wrote and prayed, the heavier my heart became, until I literally was scrawling (through tears) in my journal, begging God's forgiveness and asking Him how in the world could *I* become a gracious person. I just kept rolling that over and over in my mind without an answer....and then Jenipher, the pastor's wife, came over to me to give me the card written by whoever had been praying for me. I took it and went to return to my pleading with God for answers and God told my heart that I needed to open that card. This is what it said,
Amy, God is so amazing! Even having you come to Utah is a blessing from Him. This week as I prayed for you, I prayed for hope. The strength that you have in the Lord will be such a blessing to this desert. You are here for a purpose and the body of Christ will be blessed by God's purpose for you. (Read Romans 15:13) Thank you for stepping out in faith. Hold on to the hope of things to come, always walk forward in the Lord. We need you here in the desert! In His service, Jenipher
And there it was, such peace washed over me. And it was as if God gave me a pat on the back and said, "Go get 'em!"....My prayer time was done (beside the thank yous coming over and over like breathing in and out!!) I went down to help get lunch ready with Jenipher and she said that she didn't know why, but God needed me to have hope. I told her that what she didn't know was what that hope was for! That hope was the answer to my pleas for forgiveness and pleas for a changed heart. Wow!!! I'm telling you, so amazing.
After lunch we all went up to the sanctuary to share what we had learned this weekend, and it was SO obvious that God was SO involved in the lives of every woman there that weekend (we ended up with only 8 that stayed for the whole thing). Many people made comments about how absolutely accurate the prayer had been for them that week. One lady kept praying about smoking for another lady, and she was so confused as she was fairly certain that this lady didn't smoke. She almost doubted what she'd been praying, but decided to trust. Well, the lady she had been praying for has a husband who smokes, and due to the extreme winter we had, he's been smoking in the house and it has really begun to be an issue for the wife!!! She needed prayer for that wall that was going up! I'm telling you, amazing!!!!
Oh, and lest you fear it wasn't fun too.....oh wow!!! Friday night we visited, painted nails (each of mine is a different color, including a blue, green and an orange one!!---couldn't help myself!) we played games and laughed. Oh it was such a HUGE blessing!!
Oh, and another thing. It was supposed to be held in October, but Jenipher kept fighting it, until it finally got done for now. Had it been in October, I wouldn't have been there!! God is good all the time!!!!!
Now aren't ya glad I'm done!!!
**oh, here's those verses: Exodus 34:6; Psalm 18:24-25; Psalm 37:25-26; Matthew 5:7; Luke 6:35-36
Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted from God; for God is incapable of being tempted by [what is] evil and He Himself tempts no one. But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions).
Whoooo, boy! God is beginning yet another big work in me! I admit, I'm a bit anxious.....can I actually walk this path He's laid out before me? He's offering a path of life rather than the death walk I was choosing. Do you know what the above verse is saying? It's saying that when I'm tempted it's not anybody's fault but my own!!! When I'm tempted, it is me actually considering my own selfish desires! And we all know where that leads, right? We consider those desires, we act on those desires and it becomes a sin habit!
As I pondered this, I thought about some areas where I am continually tempted--gluttony and gossip. And looking at that in light of the above verse, here's what that looks like: I walk into the kitchen and see a piece of cake....no big deal.....except that I suddenly REALLY want that cake. I don't think about anything else but that cake. I know I shouldn't eat that cake, but I shove that thought aside (deliberately turning away from what I know is right) and give myself lots of reasons why I should eat the cake (relying on my own wisdom) and so I eat it. Do I actually enjoy that cake? Not really, because it has become an idol, something that leads me rather than God leading me. If you have to sneak it/hide it, are you living in the light? Can I hear a resounding NO!!! ((worst part is, I tell my kids this kind of stuff every day....but when it comes to my life.....oy!!))
So, what's my plan??? Well, for one, I'm writing out verse 14, the part about temptation being an enticement of my own selfish desires rather than what God desires for me. And I'm going to post that verse near the fridge and near the phone. Then I'm going to stop coming up with "good excuses" for the things I do ('it tastes so good', 'she made me so mad', "it's the last piece', 'you are NOT going to believe this'). Those all sound so good, but the truth is I KNOW that is NOT what God has for me. God has a purpose for me, and meanwhile I'm busy hiding in a corner doing my own thing and trying to make myself feel good about it. Ouch!!
So there.....done rambling (I think) and now it's posted on the worldwide web.....kinda makes me a whole lot more accountable, doncha' think?? Zoinks! Glad God's got me covered, He's got a plan to keep me busy with some good things! Looking forward to that, that's for sure!!!
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Spring is here....under all that snow, life was happening.....and only God knew about until now. I just love that. I don't think I could pick a favorite season, because every season has it's purpose. Hmmm, a lot like our own lives, every season has a purpose, and it's only for a short time, and like these little sprouts, we need to stretch, and reach and make the very most of the time we're given!